What is a full bleed image? In printing, the term “bleed” refers the portion of an image that must be trimmed off because it extends past the page’s borders. Here is an example of a full bleed image on a book cover. All four sides of it must be trimmed to fit the page.
When you create any page (whether it’s an interior page or a book cover) with a full bleed image, you must leave room for trimming. Most printers will recommend allowing for a 1/4″ (quarter inch) bleed on all sides of the image when designing it. That way, nothing important will be trimmed off by mistake.
Floating Images With (or Without) Borders
Sometimes, you don’t want a full bleed image on the page. Instead, you may prefer that image to “float” in the white space around it. Here is an example of a floating image.
In this case, there is no need to account for trimming on any part of the image. So long as it is a print-ready file (300 DPI or better), it can be sized to fit the page however you want it to.
Preparing Graphic Files for Your Book
A graphic is defined as any picture, illustration, chart, image, logo, or graph you would like placed either in your book interior or on your book cover.
All colour graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format, with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI, using the CMYK colour model.
Black and White Graphics
All black and white graphics must be submitted to PPG in either .jpg (.jpeg) or .tif (.tiff) format with a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. For best results, these images should be sent as grayscale/monochrome files. (CMYK colour images will not reproduce as well in black and white as grayscale/monochrome images will.)
What is a Full Bleed Image?
Truly, there is no right or wrong when it comes to using full bleed or floating images for your book. Much of this is subjective and all about personal preference. But keep in mind that printing a book filled with full bleed images will tend to be more expensive. These images use more ink, and there is also more time and labour involved regarding trimming the pages precisely.
Related reading: Preparing Your Digital Files for a Book Publisher
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